Title: Tootsies
Author: Sarah Black
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary M/M, interracial romance
Length: Novella (91 PDF pages)
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Summary Review: David Miller and Quanah Parker Running Bear were childhood friends who become lovers as adults. Opposites attract in this story and while our heroes live happly ever after I found the book disappointing and unsatisfying on many levels.


When David Miller publishes his excellent first book of poetry, his jealous-minded colleagues set him up to take a fall. Rather than be semi-fired in a quasi sex-scandal, he decides to live in his grandpa’s old log cabin, deep in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. Maybe he’s hoping to run into Quanah Parker Running Bear, his best friend from childhood.

But Quanah Parker is so much bigger than he remembered. Bigger and sexier and bossier, and he seems to have this strange foot thing going on. Sucking toes, rose foot cream, rubbing dicks across the tender arches of his foot — it’s weird but kind of wonderful, too. Is David in over his head?


 When David Miller was fired right after too much celebrating the night his first book of poetry was released he was devastated. Apparently he was set up by a jealous colleague and rather than go through a departmental enquiry he took a leave of absence, which was the same as being fired. Since he had no job skills other than teaching, he decided to live in his grandfather’s rundown cabin in Stanley, about 3 hours from Boise, Idaho, until he figured out his next career move in 6 months time. However it was November and the cabin wasn’t fit for human habitation without some major work, and he had no skills to make it livable, but he wasn’t daunted because he was determined to prove he was a man like anyone else who lived in Stanley. Soon the snow would blanket the countryside and without running water, an indoor toilet, wood to heat the cabin, a stove to cook his food, and on and on, how would he survive the winter? He would have to learn how to live the way his grandfather did all those years ago. Was he up to the challenge? He sure hoped so.

Quanah Parker Running Bear, David’s best friend from childhood (he’s always referred to as “Quanah Parker” in the book) on the other hand seemed to be the quintessential American Indian during their childhood when they played cowboys and Indians and David was always captured by Quanah Parker and tied up. Now Quanah Parker had a thriving business making moccasins and socks using wool from his alpacas, which he sells in his upscale stores in the city. When David showed up at Quanah Parker’s door soon after he arrived they segued right into lovers from being childhood friends, without as much as a stumble, and it appeared that Quanah Parker was only waiting for David to return to Stanley to stake his claim. So far so good, but then the story went off in different directions with a lot of sub plots to nowhere. 

Many characters are introduced who touch David’s life briefly along the way but failed to serve any purpose in the story other than to have a few lines of dialogue. I wondered at the number of minor characters in such a short book, and if the author had lost her way because there were many threads or sub plots that were left hanging in David’s journey of self discovery. He had to learn how to live by himself in the cabin starting with taking care of himself, and his first job was to buy and learn how to use a chainsaw, but after one use it became an expensive toy. He stocked up on so much food that he didn’t know how to cook it looked like he was setting up a store. How could someone be so inept who had spent a lot of time with his grandfather at the cabin when he was much younger? He had no money and very little possibility of earning any, other than a few dollars teaching online poetry classes on a parttime basis, but he was spending money hand over fist, even buying an expensive wood fired hot tub which was abandoned and became another unused toy since he used it only once. He certainly wasn’t making much headway in becoming the self-reliant man he wanted to be because Quanah Parker was always there to take care of him. Everything he did was unfinished, even his three pronged plan to prove himself which stopped half way. He started writing poetry but that was a wash too because he didn’t complete anything. However, everyone in Stanley wanted a copy of his book and was pleased to have such a famous poet in their midst. I guess I’m trying to say that David’s character didn’t work for me because it, too, was unfinished.

I thought that the toe sucking kink and the rest of the foot and dick fetish would be a large part of the story but that was a wash after trying each one once.  Quanah Parker’s hot looking ex Colton who could have played more of a role in the story perhaps to try and temporarily derail the lovers fizzled after one try like a pricked balloon.

There were continuity errors in the story as well – David didn’t have a computer and early on in the story it was mentioned that he would write using pen and paper and he had to go to the library to teach his class, but towards the end of the book he suddenly had a laptop.

I was not sold on Quanah Parker as a Native American since he seemed more in tune with his Cigar Store Indian persona and being a businessman, but that’s just me. There appeared to be little interaction between him and others who had the same cultural background, other than his father, outside of the epilogue, but the story was not a total loss since the alpacas used to make the wool were cute.

If you’re a fan of Sarah Black (and I am a fan) you will want to read Tootsies. I just didn’t feel that it was her best work.

5 years 11 months ago

One commenter on Sarah’s LJ actually turned out to be the great-granddaughter of the historical Quanah Parker.

5 years 11 months ago

I wonder why the writer used the name of a real historical person?

5 years 11 months ago

Another reference: “I?m going in to the library a couple of days a week to use the Wi-Fi”, which to me suggests that he has a laptop.

5 years 11 months ago

Different stories work for different people, that’s normal – it worked a lot better for me than it did for you.

But I had to comment on the continuity error re. David’s laptop: it says “he needed to figure out where to access the electricity he needed to teach online poetry classes”. I understood this to mean he had a laptop, only he couldn’t use it at the cabin because it didn’t have electricity – hence the pen and paper.

5 years 11 months ago

Hi Wave,

Good review. It’s a shame that there were so many loose ends left. I like to read about Native Americans too, but I would have trouble if they don’t feel real. But that’s my requirement for all characters.

5 years 11 months ago

I have only read one other story, the cookie one and I also found Kenny Lee was used as a name which made me crazy. Everyone said it’s a southern thing but they lived in Idaho and I think my geography is pretty good, that’s not considered the south. Maybe the author likes two names? This one doesn’t really appeal to me at all. I think I’ll pass.

Val Kovalin
5 years 11 months ago

Oh, Wave, I’m sorry to hear that this story had some flaws. I’m a fan, too, and I always want her fiction to do well. On the other hand, you’ve provided a lot of analytical, in-depth, valuable feedback here for the author. I’ve got a copy and I’m really curious to read it now — I just need to work it further up the tbr list. Yes, I really am the slowest reviewer on the face of the planet. 🙂

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